Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moving Violations (1985)

IMDB Link:
Moving Violations

Directed By:
Neal Isreal

Summing It Up:
A group of social misfits with a history of bad driving and traffic violations find themselves in a court-ordered traffic school. If they don't pass the class,  they will not get their impounded cars back, and that seems to be the likely outcome, given the hard-ass traffic cops who have been assigned as their teachers and the scheming judge who sent them there.

Quick Thoughts: 
I'm going to be honest, Moving Violations is far from being a great film. At its best, it's a shining example of the formulaic excesses of 80s comedy. However, since it is a movie that I watched over and over again while growing up, it has a fond place in my heart.

That being said, I was very happy to find that it was recently added to Netflix Instant. You see, I had been wanting to watch it again for some time now, but given that the VHS copy that I taped off of HBO all those years ago has long since worn out, and Anchor Bay's DVD of the film has been out of print for several years, it hasn't been possible. Luckily, it was as fun as I remembered it.

Another film I grew up with was Police Academy, and it just so happens that Neal Isreal directed that as well. As such, you shouldn't be shocked to find that the similarities between the two films run rampant, with the main exception being that Police Academy was rated R, while Violations is PG-13. So, what's missing from this one? Well, aside from an increased number of F-Bombs and boobs, not very much. You still have the asshole cops with an authority problem, the lovable weirdos under their tutelage, a conspiracy from above to fail the class, goofy romance, and a metric fuck-ton of smart-ass one liners (mostly courtesy of John Murray, brother of Bill Murray) and politically incorrect humor.

Plus, there's a lot of sex jokes in this film. And early turns from Fred Willard, Jennifer Tilly, and James Keach don't hurt. Still, the centerpiece of the whole thing is the over-the-top performance from the aforementioned John Murray, who does his best to ape the cocky sarcasm that his brother turned in one year prior in Ghostbusters. That alone is worth the price of admission.

They just don't make films like this anymore... and is that a bad thing? Well, probably not. But still, that doesn't mean Moving Violations isn't worth your time. Re-watching this film today is like an adult finding an old time capsule that they buried in their backyard. One that's filled with things that they loved as a child. Upon opening it, they not only experience a great deal of nostalgia, but they also find some value that they didn't realize these things had when they were young.

Definitely recommended, and I hope someone reissues this one on DVD and/or Blu-ray soon, as I'd love to re-add it to my collection for good.


3 1/2 out of 5


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